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SportsOutdoors and Recreation

Number of deer taken in first week of firearm season down 10 percent

ConservationEnergy ResourcesNatural Resource IndustryFirearms

The first week of the state's two-week firearm season for hunting deers has produced fewer deer taken and at least one hunter seriously injured.

According to Brian Eyler, Deer Project Leader for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, colder than normal temperatures and windy conditions, as well an abundance of acorns, led to a 10 percent drop in the number of deer taken compared to last year.

There were 15,829 whitetails taken compared to 17,613 last year. Of the whitetails taken, 6,759 were antlered and 9,070 were without antlers. Last year, 7,552 antlered deer and 10,061 antlerless were taken.

Eyler, who previously anticipated "between 40,000 and 50,000" deer taken this year, said the decline didn't come as a surprise to officials because windy conditions and abundance of acorns typically keep the herd from moving around as much.

While the number of deers taken has gone down, the number of hunting accidents have also been reduced as more hunters adhere to the safety rules being publicized by the Department of Natural Resources.

There have been only two accidental shootings involving hunters, according to Sgt. Brian Albert of the Natural Resources Police.

Albert said Friday that an unidentified male hunter was seriously injured when his .30-30 hunting rifle accidently discharged and some rounds went through his forearm.

"He was flown to a hand center in Baltimore with hopes of saving his hand," Albert said.

Albert said that a 20-year-old male hunter accidently shot himself in the ankle in Mount Airy.

Both investigations are ongoing.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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